INI215Y Lecture week 7.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Innis College Courses
Charlie Keil

INI215Y week 7 10/22/2012 8:20:00 AM Lecture I-7: Soviet Montage Cinema Lecture Structure: 1) Introduction: Comparing Germany and Russia i) underdeveloped film industry prior to crucial developments ii) necessity for government intervention iii) centrality of a few key institutions [N.B.: we will only cover i)-iii) in this lecture] iv) influential role of a dominant art movement v) decline linked to changes in political climate 2) The State of the Pre-Revolutionary Industry 3) Government Action i) NEP 4) The VGIK and Lev Kuleshov’s Workshop i) Kuleshov and Montage Introduction: Comparing Germany and Russia The parallels that exist between the German and Soviet national cinemas will be used to structure today’s lecture. A central difference between the German cinema of the Weimar period and the Soviet cinema of the pre-Stalin revolutionary era is the importance of theory to the development of the latter(the Soviet Cinema). The State of the Pre-Revolutionary Industry Domestic companies began to emerge around 1907 (e.g. Drankov).  The first domestic company by Alexander Drankov  The success of Drankov’s productions prompted a shift where foreign companies attracted Soviet audiences.  1914~ emergence of key directors. The emergence of some important directors in the early teens (e.g. Bauer and Protazanov) revealed a style quite different from that adopted in the post-Revolutionary period.  Action is revealed and executed in one long take. (Characters movement through a space => depth of staging)  was controlled by capitalists. Until….. The pre-Revolutionary industry’s interests were not shared by those of Bolshevik government. (The October Revolution occurs in 1917.)  At the point of revolution, what had existed in Soviet film industry is completely dismantled. Government Action The newly installed Bolshevik government needed to unify the country and convince the Soviet populace to support its policies. Film would become instrumental in the government achieving those goals.  The overthrow of provisional gov’t 1917 , law 1918, army factions 1921. The revolution was made by series of upheavals. In 1919, the film industry was nationalised under the Educational Commisariat, aka Narkompros, headed by A.V. Lunacharski. Initial conditions made expanded film production all but impossible.  Everything was dismantled, so there was nothing left for gov’t to take up.  the economic instability during the civil war made the production of feature film virtually impossible. Only 13 films were made under the government. “The cinema is for us the most important of all the arts.” -- Vladimir Lenin Why would film prove to be a particularly appropriate medium to aid the government in achieving its aims?  Peasants lacked education and literacy. o it’s a generally visual medium that doesn’t depend on the texts.  Soviet was too big and thus
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